15 Signs Your Child May Have Dyslexia

The following information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

One out of every five children in the United States has dyslexia, a language-based learning disorder that can cause difficulties with spelling, writing, reading fluency, and word recognition. Early diagnosis can be extremely helpful, so here we're sharing a rundown of the early signs of dyslexia in children.

Generally, symptoms of dyslexia include slow speech development, difficulty gauging directions, problems understanding sequences, poor reading ability, bad handwriting, poor organization abilities, and poor memory about nonrelevant facts. More specifically, the following are common signs of dyslexia at various ages.

Signs of Dyslexia in Preschoolers

If you're wondering whether your preschooler may have dyslexia, the following behaviors in children aged 4 to 5 are noted as possible signs of dyslexia by the Power of Dyslexia.

  • Constant switching from left to right hand when drawing, coloring, or writing
  • Inability to tie shoe laces
  • Difficulty in pronouncing words that have three or more syllables
  • Difficulty in uttering words that rhyme
  • Difficulty in learning to write
  • Problem in pronouncing "M," "N," "R," and "L"
  • Stuttering

Notably, at this age, writing letters or even words backwards isn't a sign of dyslexia. As one of our readers, Jennifer, explains: "Letter reversals and writing words backwards is very common since children at this age are still learning the direction of print (left to right). Most children self correct the problem during kindergarten and first grade."

Signs a Grade-Schooler Has Dyslexia

Many children are diagnosed with dyslexia in elementary or middle school, when they begin to struggle in school in comparison with their peers. "I noticed my nephew was dyslexic in second grade," shares Rosalie G. "I was helping him with math homework and figured out why his answers were wrong. (Example: 62-12=50 right? His answer was 5. He was inverting the numbers so he saw the equation as 26-21.)"

The Power of Dyslexia notes the following signs of dyslexia in children aged 6 to 12.

  • Weak in spelling and handwriting abilities
  • Slow, disrupted reading (and committing similar mistakes every time)
  • Difficulty in telling the time
  • Struggles with math problems or concepts
  • Difficulty finding the right words when expressing themselves
  • Mispronunciation of common words
  • Untidy lockers, bedrooms, and bags
  • Difficulty in remembering telephone numbers or a series of numbers

Whether signs become apparent at age 5 or age 8, many moms advise you take action as soon as you notice. As Tina J. notes: "The longer a disability is left without appropriate interventions the more time the child has to lose ego strength and self confidence."

The preceding information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.